It is believed that around 65% of people in this country will experience some sort of shoulder pain. Shoulder bursitis pain is one of the most common. This happens when the shoulder's top large bursa becomes inflamed.
How the Bursa Can Become Injured:
All soft tissues of the shoulder (bursae, tendons, ligaments, muscles) are packed in a tight space, which means that, if there is a problem with one, problems with the others will often also happen. Bursitis, therefore, can either be a cause or a symptom.
What Is Shoulder Bursitis Pain?
Usually, people experience pain on the outside of the shoulder, particularly if they lift the arm high. This makes it difficult to get dressed, for instance. Additionally, it can be sensitive to the touch. The subacromial bursa is most commonly affected, as this is the largest one and found just below the shoulder blade. The condition is generally diagnosed together with shoulder impingement syndrome and/or tendinitis. While these are separate conditions, they often overlap. All affect the shoulder joint's tissue.
Subacromial bursae affect the acromion, the highest part of the shoulder blade and the top of the shoulder. They don't actually touch the shoulder joint's bones. That is because the rotator cuff muscles are between them, as are the tendons. The bursa, meanwhile, is the cushion in between all of these elements, protecting them from each other. If it becomes irritated, however, it can start to thicken. Even a slight swelling can be incredibly painful even if it is not obvious to the touch or the eye.
Shoulder bursitis pain can also go hand in hand with tendonitis. This happens when there is a problem with the tendons, responsible for connecting bones and muscles. While flexible structures, they aren't overly elastic, and this means tearing or other damage is possible. This is known as tendinitis.
Lastly, it can be linked to shoulder impingement syndrome. This means any kind of soft tissue is trapped between the acromion and the glenohumeral joint. This happens when the soft shoulder tissue is inflamed. The syndrome can be caused by shoulder bursitis, or by other problems such as rotator cuff tears or arthritis.
It is believed that 90% of all cases of shoulder bursitis are caused directly by a tear in the rotator cuff muscles. What this demonstrates is just how hard it is to determine cause and effect. While physicians will try to treat shoulder bursitis pain, it is very important for them to figure out whether they must also treat an underlying condition that caused it, or an additional condition caused by it.
Septic Shoulder Bursitis:
Last but not least, there is septic shoulder bursitis. This is a different condition, whereby there is an infection of the bursae. This is not a common condition, but it is a serious one. The symptoms are exactly the same as those of bursitis, but you will usually also feel sick, feverish, and tired, and the shoulder will look red and feel warm. You must seek medical attention so the infection in your bursa doesn't enter the bloodstream.